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Everything MLRC has published, in any publication, since 2017.

recently published
Nov 2023

Florida Court Throws Out Heart Surgeon’s Defamation Suit Against CNN

Matt Kristoffersen

“It is disingenuous and anomalous on the part of Dr. Black and St. Mary’s to say on the one hand that CNN should be held liable for failing to report risk adjusted data, and on the other hand to deny CNN access to that very same data,” Senior Judge Richard Oftedal wrote in the decision.

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Nov 2023

Nevada’s Shield Law Protects Murdered Journalist’s Phone and Computer

Madeleine Coles and Benjamin Lipman

The court also ruled, for the first time, that the reporter’s privilege survives the death of the reporter who gathered the information, finding that to hold otherwise would “be directly contrary to the statute’s purpose.”

Nov 2023

Santa’s Gift List for Media Players Naughty & Nice

George Freeman

MLRC Executive Director dons his santa cap to dispense helpful gifts to the major newsmakers of 2023.

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Nov 2023

Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer

Deanna K. Shullman

Shullman Fugate partner on her beginnings in media law, memorable cases, taste in podcasts, and what people get wrong about Floridians.

Nov 2023

Bakersfield Californian v. Superior Court of Kern County: After an Unsuccessful Criminal Subpoena Challenge, Depublication of the Court of Appeal’s Decision is Sought

Sarah E. Burns and Thomas R. Burke

This article summarizes why the unique facts of this case render the opinion an inappropriate precedent that endangers journalists and publishers in future Shield Law situations.

Nov 2023

Florida Supreme Court Rules Marsy’s Law Does Not Protect Victims’ Names

Daniela Abratt-Cohen and Mark R. Caramanica

The Court’s ruling, which certainly could have taken a narrower path, was not only a victory for police transparency but also a wider victory in beating back overzealous application of Marsy’s Law protections.  

Nov 2023

Maine Newspapers, Broadcasters Challenge Law Requiring “Due Diligence” on Advertisers Before Running Political Ads

Sigmund D. Schutz and Alexandra Harriman

A new Maine law that bans political advertising by foreign government-influenced entities has a remarkable feature of special concern for news organizations: it enlists news outlets to enforce the ban.

Nov 2023

Journalists’ Civil Rights Claims for Abuses During George Floyd and Daunte Wright Protests Can Go to Trial

Isabella Salomão Nascimento, Pari McGarraugh, and Kevin Riach

All told, the Court’s decision is an unqualified victory for Plaintiffs in this case, their fellow journalist colleagues, and the First Amendment writ large.

Nov 2023

2023 DCS Annual Meeting

A report on the MLRC's annual DCS meeting, held November 9 at the offices of Patterson Belknap in New York City.

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Nov 2023

California Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment for Defendants in Ad Astra Copyright / Idea Theft Case

David Aronoff and Josh Bornstein

Plaintiff alleged that Ad Astra infringed his copyright in and stole ideas from his unproduced spec screenplay entitled Cosmic Force. However, in granting summary judgment the Court ruled that these claims failed to raise genuine issues warranting a trial.

Oct 2023

Federal Court Holds that Incidental Capture of Photos in Background of Documentary Film is Fair Use

Adam Rich and Samuel Bayard

This decision will be helpful to documentary filmmakers who incidentally capture copyrighted works while documenting actions and events that are of legitimate public concern.

Oct 2023

Iowa Journalist Can Proceed with Suit Against Officer Who Arrested Him, Eighth Circuit Decides

Matt Kristoffersen

“Once Officer Holtan was aware Nieters was a member of the press and had no reason to believe Nieters had been within hearing distance of the orders to disperse,” the opinion states, “it certainly was not an ‘objectively reasonable’ mistake to believe probable cause existed for the arrest.”

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Oct 2023

Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer

Bob Corn-Revere

FIRE - and former DWT - attorney on his introduction to the First Amendment, cancel culture, big law versus non-profits, and his karaoke pick.

Oct 2023

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Internet Defamation Claims as Time-Barred

Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein

In concluding that the claims were time-barred under Pennsylvania’s one-year statute of limitations for defamation, the Third Circuit provided welcome clarity on the application of the single-publication rule to statements made on the internet and by journalists during the reporting process.

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Oct 2023

Discovery Order Leads to 8,000 New Pages of Documents in FOIA Lawsuit

Eric Weslander

A FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri recently led to the discovery of 8,000-plus pages of hospital survey materials that the requesters were previously told could not be found.

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Oct 2023

Colorado Court Holds That Public Officials’ Text Messages on Cell Phones are Public Records

Steve Zansberg

Judge Scoville’s ruling joined numerous other state courts in finding that text messages of public employees housed on personal cell phones are not outside the statutory definition of “public records” merely because they were never transferred to any government entity’s servers for storage and retrieval.

Oct 2023

Telephone Records Showing County Jail Snooping on Private Attorney-Client Phone Calls Ruled Public Records in Maine

Sigmund D. Schutz and Alex Harriman

In a recent win, the Maine Monitor secured a Superior Court order establishing that public records law requires disclosure of reports showing whether jails have recorded privileged telephone calls between jail inmates and their attorneys.

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Oct 2023

Utah State Records Panel Rules that Public Universities Must Disclose NIL Contracts

Jeffrey J. Hunt and Maria J. DeMarco

A government body — perhaps for the first time — has ruled that name, image, and likeness contracts that college athletes submit to public universities are public records and not protected from disclosure under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Oct 2023

Fifth Circuit Holds Texas Drone Regulation Law to Be Constitutional

Alicia Wagner Calzada

A recent drone journalism opinion out of the Fifth Circuit could have negative implications for years to come, beyond the issues in the case itself.

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Oct 2023

NBCUniversal Wins Dismissal of January 6 Activist’s Defamation Complaint

Natalie J. Spears, Samuel Fifer, Gregory R. Naron and Jessica Laurin Meek

In a strongly worded opinion, Judge Bataillon of the District of Nebraska granted NBCU’s motion to dismiss with prejudice on substantial truth grounds.

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